Shelby Grubbs

Shelby Grubbs, a partner in the law firm of Miller & Martin PLLC, has been named the first executive director of the Atlanta Center for International Arbitration and Mediation, which is to be housed in Georgia State University’s new law school being constructed in the central business district.

Mr. Grubbs is one of the founding directors of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society (ATLAS), which has been instrumental in providing the groundwork for establishing the center and is composed of a coalition of Southeastern law firms, law schools and chambers of commerce.

The center is to be housed on the fourth floor of the new $82.5 million law school that is scheduled to open in the spring.

Doug Yarn, the former director of the American Arbitration Association Center’s for International Commercial Disputes and a law professor at Georgia State who helped plan the center, said in a news release that Mr. Grubbs was hired a year in advance of the center’s opening because “we want to hit the ground running.”

“International disputes have a gestation period,” he added. “People are making decisions now as to whether they are going to arbitrate and where they are going to do it, and we want to influence that thinking now.”

Arbitration has become a leading method for resolving cross-border disputes largely because companies engaged in international business fear litigating in foreign courts.

According to the release, the center has sought to incorporate the best features of other leading international arbitration facilities including the International Chamber of Commerce’s hearing rooms in Paris, the International Dispute Resolution Centre in London and Maxwell Chambers in Singapore.

Mr. Yarn said that the Atlanta center will benefit from its location in a law school because of the access to its library facilities. He also said that he envisions the center hosting hearings and educational events and to serve as a base for ATLAS, which was founded under the leadership of Glenn Hendrix, managing partner of the Atlanta-based firm Arnall Golden Gregory LLP.

Mr. Hendrix helped launch the center in 2011 to promote Atlanta as an alternative to more traditional U.S. arbitration venues such as New York, Houston and Miami.

Although other centers have been formed in recent years in locations including Dubai and the island nation of Mauritius, Atlanta should benefit, the association’s founders have said, because arbitrations are migrating closer to the locations where the disputes are taking place.

Mr. Grubbs worked at Miller & Martin for 20 years, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., and then in Atlanta. He has co-chaired the American Bar Association‘s litigation section of the Alternative Dispute Resolution committee.

For previous Global Atlanta reporting about the center, click here and here.